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Old 4th September 2010, 11:52   #1
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Default Photograph Scanner

Currently I am in the process of digitizing lots of old albums, film (BW & color) photographs going back to 50s and until 90s.

For this purpose I am using an old HP Officejet 5510 all-in-one as my scanner. However, I am not happy with the digital output. In many photographs, although the photograph looks perfect, the scanned image looks lot more darker. It is thoroughly underexposing the image.

Is there any dedicated photo scanner available in India that can do a better job?
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Old 4th September 2010, 12:00   #2
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I'm sure you must have scoured the net. But still - [COLOR=#0000ff]http://www.hp.com/united-states/consumer/digital_photography/buying_guides/scanner.html[/COLOR]

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Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Currently I am in the process of digitizing lots of old albums, film (BW & color) photographs going back to 50s and until 90s.

For this purpose I am using an old HP Officejet 5510 all-in-one as my scanner. However, I am not happy with the digital output. In many photographs, although the photograph looks perfect, the scanned image looks lot more darker. It is thoroughly underexposing the image.

Is there any dedicated photo scanner available in India that can do a better job?
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Old 4th September 2010, 12:06   #3
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I suggest using a good DSLR to take photos of the photos!. I've been using my digicam to take photo of the old family photos I have in albums. This feels much easier than using a scanner which requires the photos to be peeled off from albums and scanned which may damage some of these photos.
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Old 4th September 2010, 14:01   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Currently I am in the process of digitizing lots of old albums, film (BW & color) photographs going back to 50s and until 90s.

For this purpose I am using an old HP Officejet 5510 all-in-one as my scanner. However, I am not happy with the digital output. In many photographs, although the photograph looks perfect, the scanned image looks lot more darker. It is thoroughly underexposing the image.

Is there any dedicated photo scanner available in India that can do a better job?
Been there done that! A few years ago I wanted to get the job done. Found out all I could and decided to wait for a time when the Nikon Cool Scan would be cheaper. At that time it was $5k+. Still waiting. Commercial studios wanted anywhere between 50-100 per slide/negative!

The flatbed scanners have the following shortcoming
- Low optical resolution around 600-1000 DPI
- Negatives are not flat on the bed, hence nonlinearities
- Dust and other artifacts are scanned
- Software not tuned to negative scanning

In order to get good scan you need a Negative Scanner. Nikon Cool Scan Film Scanners | Nikon is one such used by most. The advantages are
- Higher resolution upto 4000 DPI optical. Considering that a negative is approximately 1.5" x 1" a 4000 DPI scan will yield 6k x 4k = 24MP. Where as a 1000 DPI scanner will result in 1k x 1.5k = 1.5MP.
- Dedicated Negative carrier which will keep the negative flat.
- Oil bath attachment. This ensured that there are no scratches scanned as well as keeping the negative optically flat.
- Dedicated software which can separate colours and tweak contrasts.

Beware of claims of Digital Resolution. This is nothing but interpolation, and worst than useless. What matters is the optical resolution.

For photographs try dedicated scan acquisition software. Google and you will get to read reviews and then decide what suits you best.
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Old 4th September 2010, 15:10   #5
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Do film scanners like the coolscan and some of the other older good scanners work with windows 7. I thought the drivers hardly even supported win xp.
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Old 4th September 2010, 22:36   #6
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I don't have negatives for most of these photographs. My first kid destroyed all the negatives when he was a toddler. I will mostly be scanning prints.
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Old 4th September 2010, 23:21   #7
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I got a flatbed scanner from the USA couple of years ago. This one was chosen one for the negative scanning adaptor that accompanied it. It works like a charm and the software is intelligent to identify the different frames within the cut strip given back by the studio.

The only catch is the time taken - About 20-25 minutes for a strip of 4 frames. Of course the different options chosen (color correction, anti aging, dust removal) add to the time.

Brand is Epson. I don't recollect the exact model right now.
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Old 5th September 2010, 00:07   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I don't have negatives for most of these photographs. My first kid destroyed all the negatives when he was a toddler. I will mostly be scanning prints.
I guess you can try using a lightbox(to evenly lit the photos) and your DSLR. Just give it a try.
With the flatbed all in one type scanners it's difficult to get good results but you may try using different settings. Use your best lens available. Wish you had the negatives :(
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Old 5th September 2010, 00:59   #9
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Lots of photos are from the time before I was born, not only there are no negatives of those, they are all different sizes. That is one odd thing I have noticed. None of the BW prints are of any standard size. It is as if every studio maintained their own proprietary size for printing photos. If I take out 20 prints from the album, I can find 15 different sizes in them. And it is a nightmare to put them back since I can't figure where to put back what. In these albums, the photos are affixed using stick-able corners, to fit the photo.
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Old 5th September 2010, 07:53   #10
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Negative scanners is one of the things I had followed a few years ago, but found them a lil too expensive. Thought I'll wait for the prices to drop, but the thought itself dropped away :(

If there was a good photograph scanner, I too would have considered it.


Samurai,
The photos are now printed, so I dont think you can do much PP on these. Going for a good scan would be realistic. Points to considered would be resolution, color representation and speed of scanning.

Reg resolution, it would not make much difference if the pic is scanned at 600 or 1000 or higher resolution - since the original is already printed. Color renditiotion is what will be the important point to look out for. Speed of scanning will help -but higher the resolution, more the time.

I would suggest that you drop the all-in-one and go for a dedicated color scanner, one that can do atleast 1200 dpi.

My experience has been that B&W are easier to work in this situation. Even if the colors/greys on the print are not that good (have bluish/greyish tinge), this can still be corrected during PP.

For color prints, these will remain at best - scans of prints.
For problems like the photos not being flat on the bed, you can always use a light book to weigh it down.
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Old 5th September 2010, 22:00   #11
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I don't think I have the budget for any specialty photography scanner. I'll forget it for now.

Meanwhile I need to buy a dedicated scanner for my office, I guess I'll manage with that.
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Old 6th September 2010, 12:19   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
Lots of photos are from the time before I was born, not only there are no negatives of those, they are all different sizes. That is one odd thing I have noticed. None of the BW prints are of any standard size. It is as if every studio maintained their own proprietary size for printing photos. If I take out 20 prints from the album, I can find 15 different sizes in them. And it is a nightmare to put them back since I can't figure where to put back what. In these albums, the photos are affixed using stick-able corners, to fit the photo.
Yes I know that. The studio would either optimise on the paper by cropping to save paper, or trim the photos haphazardly. It was all manual in those days.

As suggested previously, use a DSLR to scan the photos. This should give better output compared to flat bed scanner. The method is

- Set up a flat place with a white board to keep the prints. Weigh then down with steel/wooden strips to keep them flat.
- Set the DSLR on a tripod. Point it downward.
- Select the frame by moving the camera up and down.
- Focus and shoot
- If light is a problem use flash.

If you are doing a lot of photos, say 1000+, try and get an old defunct enlarger (they may be available at second hand photo dealers in Chandni Chowk) get rid (or better do not buy) the head. Fix the camera. You now have a rugged "Copy Stand". Very easy to move up and down to get the photo in full field.

In addition you will get all the photos of same size, at least in the longer end.
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Old 6th September 2010, 14:09   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I don't think I have the budget for any specialty photography scanner. I'll forget it for now.

Meanwhile I need to buy a dedicated scanner for my office, I guess I'll manage with that.
Did you try using your DSLR cameras instead of a scanner? It gives lot of flexibility in comparison. I have recently completed digitizing my entire collection of old b/w photos using my digicam. Never used a scanner for any purpose. Always preferred taking snaps with my mobile or digicam for digitization or sending email.

Last edited by vasoo : 6th September 2010 at 14:11.
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Old 6th September 2010, 15:08   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Samurai View Post
I don't think I have the budget for any specialty photography scanner. I'll forget it for now.

Meanwhile I need to buy a dedicated scanner for my office, I guess I'll manage with that.

Take a look at Canon's CanoScan 9000F. It will do a great job as it has all the features that you require for photo scanning as well as other jobs. You can take a look at this review, which will also give you some information regarding the scanning process etc.

Scanner Review: CanoScan 9000F
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Old 6th September 2010, 15:18   #15
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LiDE 100 - Scanners - Canon India

Easy to carry and store.
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